That’s right. Grammar and spelling mistakes. They drive me UP A WALL. For example, the OCD in me is going crazy right now; I want to change my title of the post so badly. But it’s punny, right?
Regardless, I’ll get to the real topic. I cannot fathom why or how so many people have the lack of focus or care to ensure that they don’t make these mistakes – but our society’s press and social media are permeated by incorrect contractions, abbreviated spellings, straight-up wrong spellings, lack of punctuation, etc. I just can’t seem to get over it.
Example: I was researching for a paper on the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and wanted to get a second opinion on what I was writing. I google searched for the documentary that we watched in class, so I could go back and read the transcripts of it. A google result came up with a yahoo question page. It said “why did people not stop the rowandan jennoside.”
I almost threw up.
Instead, I swung my computer around, pointed to the screen and disturbed my friend Maggie, who shares my impatience for errors such as these. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The amount of errors I could list in that sentence were seemingly unending, but perhaps the most depressing was the spelling of “rowanda” and “jennosiide” — COME. ON.
I get it, most people don’t make errors that are so blatantly wrong, but there are errors all over the place. The social media network is full of them; I’m constantly noticing “your brother told me to say hi to you” instead of “you’re” or “me to” instead of “me too” and “me and to other people” instead of TWO. It gets to me, clearly. I guess I just think more when I write. (Knowing my luck, you will find a grammar/spelling/punctuation mistake in here that I didn’t notice because I’m on a rant…)
Anyways, let’s bring this back to the field of journalism as a whole, though. The news media is supposed to be the trusted source of information, yet if you look hard enough, there are grammar/spelling/punctuation mistakes littered throughout the pages of print or on websites. It just doesn’t make sense.
I found an article by USA Today columnist Craig Wilson. Called “Bad Grammar? Misspellings? Shirt happens.” I loved it. He basically explains that there are lots of people out there “whose whole existence seems to revolve around finding grammatical errors in newspapers; copy editors for the masses.” He continues, “Just last week, I got called on a whose/who’s mistake I made in my weekly online chat. At least some people still care enough the English language enough to make a fuss. Bless all two of them.”
I am proud to be one of those two people.
Wilson continues, describing different readers that have sent letters in to him complaining and venting about grammatical errors. My favorite was the college freshman who sent him an e-mail because he was interested in a career in journalism. As Wilson explained, he gets messages like this all the time.
“But his request was filled with misspellings, grammatical errors, and one whopper of a run-on sentence.”
So what did he do?
“I e-mailed him back and said I’d be more than happy to chat with him, but only if he corrected his e-mail and sent it back to me. I wasn’t being a jerk, I told him. Honest! I was trying to help. I also said his submission would have earned him an immediate F in journalism school. Never heard from him again.”
I was purely entertained. But really. Even in businesses, we are teaching kids incorrect spellings. If Mommy buys gas at a Qwik Stop every week, can we really be upset if that’s how he spells “quick” on a spelling test?
I tested this out to see if I was just hyper-sensitive to this issue, or if I was right. First friend I creeped on facebook: 1 error right away. Second friend: 3 errors right away in plain sight. Third friend: 4 errors. I’m done creeping.
I’ll stop now…and end with a quote for thought.
Do not be surprised when those who ignore the rules of grammar also ignore the law. After all, the law is just so much grammar. ~Robert Brault